New Wallaby coach Ewen McKenzie has selected his first Wallaby squad for the Rugby Championship tournament against New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina, and controversial playmaker Quade Cooper has been recalled into the 40-man group.
Cooper’s return will be the first time he is back in the squad since September 2012, where his comments regarding the Wallabies’ “toxic” environment kept him out of selection contention.
Another interesting selection is the 23-year old James O’Connor for the fullback and wing positions, who was critisiced at flyhalf following his performance against the British and Irish Lions and is currently without a Super Rugby franchise.
That’s where I see him primarily, I think he can play a bunch of positions, but that’s what we’ll focus (on),” said McKenzie.
McKenzie also added that the inclusion of Cooper, Bernard Foley and Matt Toomua would add some playmaking depth to the squad.
“You need a good passing game, you need good vision. They are all attributes of the guys we’ve included in the squad so there’s a bunch of guys who can deliver in that space, so that’s what we are going to invest in.”
The 40-man squad will be cut down to 30 on 9 August 2013, a week before the first test against the All Blacks.
Squad: Ben Alexander, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Peter Betham, Quade Cooper, Nick Cummins, Dave Dennis, Kane Douglas, Anthony Faingaa, Saia Faingaa, Scott Fardy, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Israel Folau, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Liam Gill, Mike Harris, Michael Hooper, James Horwill, Sekope Kepu, Peter Kimlin, Tevita Kuridrani, Christian Leali’ifano, Ben McCalman, Hugh McMeniman, Jesse Mogg, Stephen Moore, Ben Mowen, James O’Connor, Nick Phipps, Tatafu Polota Nau, Hugh Pyle, Benn Robinson, Paddy Ryan, Jake Schatz, Rob Simmons, Scott Sio, James Slipper, Joe Tomane, Matt Toomua, Nic White.